With the goal of bringing attention to the mental health and counseling needs of gun violence victims, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald introduced six legislative measures designed to stem the violence by engaging patients in the hospital, during recovery and in the community following an incident.
“Many hospitals see a ‘revolving door’ of gunshot injuries, as patients who have been shot are at a very high risk of being violently reinjured and committing violent acts themselves,” Greenwald, D-6th District, said in a statement. “Making counseling a critical part of the services a patient receives may be just the prescription needed to save lives and discourage recidivism and the use of retaliatory violence.”
The bill would align New Jersey with a national trend of developing hospital-based violence intervention programs in the hospitals that handle trauma incidents related to gun violence.
Specifically, five of the bills in the package would establish the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program Initiative in the Department of Human Services; require the Victim of Crime Compensation Office to partner with trauma centers to provide referrals for trauma victims; require Medicaid to cover professional violence prevention counseling services; allocate funding to community-based violence intervention programs; and mandate Level One or Level Two trauma centers provide hospital-based or hospital-linked violence intervention programs for firearm or stabbing related injuries.
“Hospital-based violence intervention programs have been proven to reduce the likelihood that a survivor is involved in a retaliatory shooting or re-victimized and can increase their educational and employment outcomes,” said Diana Trasatti, a volunteer with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, in a statement. “These bills will ensure that all those who have been impacted by gun violence are provided with the essential support required to process and work through their traumatic experience and will provide disproportionately impacted communities with much-needed resources to advance proven and community-led gun violence prevention strategies.”